DEA Chief Urges Extra Efforts in Southwest

DEA Chief Urges Extra Efforts in Southwest
Posted by FoM on November 21, 2001 at 11:13:00 PT
By Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times
Source: El Paso Times
Despite recent progress, the Southwest border still needs more resources to halt the flow of drugs from Mexico into the United States, the nation's chief drug-law enforcer says. El Paso is the second- largest gateway for drugs in Texas, after Laredo, and 70 percent of drugs coming into the United States enter through the Southwest border, Asa Hutchinson, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said Tuesday in El Paso. 
"This is a principal point of entry for drugs in the United States," said Hutchinson, whom President Bush picked three months ago to lead the DEA. "Clearly, the DEA needs more resources in the Southwest border. We have a great investment in the Caribbean area. ... We've beefed up in the Southwest border, but I don't think we've done it sufficiently. Of course, we will never outman the opposition, and that should not be our goal." In an interview with the El Paso Times, Hutchinson said he was touring the border to get a handle on the agency's needs. He concludes a two-day visit to the El Paso area today. His schedule included a helicopter flyover of the border, as well as meetings with local law officials and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. He said he wants to add technology and other resources at the El Paso DEA division, headed by Sandalio Gonzalez. In response to police reports that white heroin, possibly from Afghanistan, recently was detected in Mexican staging sites used by Mexican drug cartels, Hutchinson said, "It wouldn't surprise me. ... Less than 10 percent of the heroin that's in the United States, and it would be very limited, comes from the Middle East and that part of the world." He said most of the rest of the heroin, known as brown tar, comes from Mexico and South America. U.S. officials say Afghanistan is the world's top producer of heroin, and that the Taliban and the terrorist network al-Qaida have used the profits of heroin sales to finance their operations. "The DEA has a strong plan for the post-Taliban era in Afghanistan," Hutchinson said. The agency has 9,000 agents assigned to posts worldwide. Overseas, the agents work with law enforcement officials in host countries by providing training and technical assistance. Travis Kuykendall, director of the West Texas High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area office, said it's possible for white heroin from that part of the world to turn up in El Paso through independent couriers. "In the 1980s, we saw heroin from Colombia brought here by people who didn't know anyone in Juárez or El Paso," he said. "Sometimes they tried to bring it in by swallowing it" in balloons. Kuykendall said that unless the couriers have an arrangement to split the profits with the Juárez drug cartel -- for permission to use its territory to transport the white heroin -- they can be killed on the spot by the Mexican drug dealers. According to an FBI report, the Juárez-El Paso area is considered the base of the Juárez drug cartel headed by the Carrillo Fuentes drug-trafficking organization. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, government officials have suggested that the FBI cut back on its drug investigations to focus on anti-terrorist efforts. However, unlike the FBI, the DEA -- whose sole mission is to enforce drug laws -- does not have the authority to investigate drug-related homicides or abductions. Hutchison said he doesn't expect the DEA's role to change much as a result of changes within the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. The DEA chief also said "he is very concerned about recent court decisions in Mexico that block the extradition of certain drug traffickers." Hutchinson said the U.S. government was willing to waive the death penalty in certain drug cases, but Mexico's highest court is reluctant to extradite Mexican drug lords who face life imprisonment in the United States. None of Mexico's top drug lords has been arrested since Juan Garcia Abrego, former head of the Gulf drug cartel and a U.S. citizen, was extradited to Texas in 1996. Mexico also has yet to account for nearly 30 U.S. citizens, most of them El Pasoans, who were reportedly kidnapped by drug dealers and their associates during the past eight years. El Paso Seizures:  Drug Enforcement Administration arrests and drug seizures from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 in the El Paso area: Arrests: 1,219. Heroin: 18.5 pounds. Cocaine: 459 pounds. Marijuana: 133,166 pounds. Methamphetamines: 199 pounds. Source: El Paso DEA Source: El Paso Times (TX)Author: Diana Washington Valdez Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 Copyright: 2001 El Paso TimesContact: opinion elpasotimes.comWebsite: Articles:Terrorism Forces Traffickers To Change Tactics Seizures Are Up At Border Crossings Borders Won't Stop Flow of Drugs 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #4 posted by Rambler on November 21, 2001 at 19:45:58 PT
a good article
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by null on November 21, 2001 at 16:45:25 PT
the oregon police finger
I saw that news from Oregon in the NY Times as well, E_Johnson. Oregon is developing quite the backbone in dealing with the Feds. First the challenge to Ashcroft trying to buck their euthanasia law and now this noncompliance. I wouldn't be surprised if when the days finally comes, Oregon is the first to legalize marijuana. I am tremendously impressed with the state of Oregon. States rights! :)As to the LACRC raid I have a theory: Their resources are thin. Therefore they had to make a desperate move to instill fear in the reform movement. They want us to think that they are so strong right now that they can afford the resources to crush medical marijuana. I suspect that more likely it took a good bit of the free resources to make this move.The DEA made a bad chess move by doing so!Why? Because the only thing supporting the Drug War is supposed public opinion. The FACTS don't support it. Everyone here at Cannabis News is well aware of that. However, they are now taking the cannabis and medical marijuana issue and blowing it up to an issue of state's rights! Blamo! You can't step on the will of an ENTIRE STATE and not have a) Everyone in that state and b) The other 49 states take notice and say "NO!" In a desperate move to maintain their hold and butress the drug war the DEA has elevated our cause to affect a greater portion of the public at large. Thanks DEA. You just lost your queen. This chess game is ours!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on November 21, 2001 at 16:30:04 PT
Portland police lend Ashcoft a helping finger
A middle finger that is...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on November 21, 2001 at 15:24:50 PT
A whore without a golden heart
If their resources are really so stretched, then why the LACRC raid? They could have sent those 30 agents to El Paso instead of West Hollywood.I think it's a bit late in the news cycle for Asa to claim the DEA is stretched for resources given the priorities he himself has chosen for using the resources they have.This man has no shame whatsoever.Venality and mendacity, the twin mottos of the federal drug bureaucracy under Clinton, and now again under Bush.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment